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Madeleine Kamman's The New Making of a Cook: The Art, Techniques, And Science Of Good Cooking

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I am absolutely SHOCKED that nobody on this site has mentioned this book.  12 years ago, I returned from 18 months on the road for work with a determination to learn a hobby that I would enjoy and that was focused on the home...home sweet home.  I decided the answer was cooking. I had tried some cookbooks before but I really hate just a long list of recipes.  In browsing the shelves of a bookstore, I found Madeleine's book.  

 

Clearly a book of techniques and food and tool knowledge, it has it's recipes.  But it is more of a combination of the few best or classic recipes as support for discussion about technique and knowledge.  Like all the cuts of a cow or the science behind letting bread rise or the action of acidic ingredients in marinade or the proper way to dice garlic (buy pre-diced garlic?).  

 

I recall about 6 months into this learning process I decided to make my own stock.  Unfortunately the availability of veal bones is dreadful, so I bit my tongue and used beef bones.  20-qt pot, bunches o' bones browned I think, onions, carrots, bouquet, water - I think that was all - 4 hrs on the heat and I let it cook and slapped the results in a bunch of Mason jars.  I froze most and used some for various dishes.  I made a prosciutto and leek risotto with it that was heavenly.  Only 4 hours of work, but the result is a homemade flavor base that is to die for.  And should I mention the resulting onion soup?  All at the inspiration of Madeleine.

 

Well, with all this investment I am not going to settle for sauteed chicken.  So I determined that if I was cooking dinner, I'll spend the 2+ hours on something interesting.  Turns out the book IS a wealth of great recipes.  I ended up learning to cook beef bourguignon, braised beef roast with horseradish sauce, coq au vin, duck a l'orange, onion soup, roast lamb, tomato soup, fish, fish, fish.   I even made croissant from scratch!  Yikes! I almost forgot to mention the espagnole sauce I made from this book...wow!

 

It seems this book I bought to learn cooking turns out to be a graduate textbook on the subject.  I learned a tremendous amount from this book and combined with The Art of French Cooking and a few ethnic books on Thai, Indian and Moroccan food, my kitchen is quite happy.  I highly recommend this book.

post #2 of 2

Welcome to Cheftalk, Reefedjib.

 

Doesn't surprise me that Kamman's name hasn't come up before. She isn't very well known to the general public.

 

Actually, you lucked out with your book choice.  Making of a Cook was perhaps her best work, and, presumably, the updated The New..... maintained that quality. Personally, I've never seen the revised edition.

 

For various reasons, Madeleine Kamman is better known among professionals, especially  those with a bent for French/American fusion cooking, than at-home cooks, despite the fact much of her work was aimed at the latter. Keep in mind that she was walking in the same path being trod by Julia Child (particularly when Kamman was working in Boston), at a time Child was at the height of her popularity. So Kamman was, to a great degree, overshadowed by her.

 

So it isn't so much her books and tv show that mark her as do her cooking schools. Indeed, the last school she ran was only open to professionals with several years experience.

 

So don't be shocked. Just be thankful you found exactly the book you needed.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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